Content curation is the collecting and sharing of relevant content from around the web. That’s right, you don’t have to create everything yourself! How cool is that? It’s already there, it’s perfect for your audience, and you get to show how smart you are by sharing it.
The first rule of content curation is to actually read and have an opinion on the content your sharing with your audience. While there’s more content than ever to choose from, that makes your job as a curator both easier and more difficult. Easier, because you have a never-ending stream of good pickings, and difficult because there’s so much adequate content that in order to share it, you must maintain some sense of focus. With a focused lens on well-chosen sources and keywords, your readers will learn to expect only the best of the best as it relates to your subject. If it struck a cord in you, then you simply need to express what that cord is as you share it.
Let’s say you decided an infographic or podcast was perfectly suitable for your audience. It’s exactly the kind of thing your readers would like to know. You even want to contribute your ideas to the discussion, and get your readers’ opinions on it. It’s the kind of information that, if you were having lunch with one of your blog readers, you’d probably mention this topic.
If you can imagine sharing this information in a real conversation at a social event with your friends, followers and colleagues, then chances are the post is a great piece of qualified, curate-able content.
Keep your content radar on all the time.
Bloggers should always be thinking about the right mix of owned, earned and paid media, but as you’re doing research for your own content, don’t forget to also keep your eyes out for excellent curated content. Everyone has their own criteria about what that looks like for them.
Searching for content others create is something you probably already do, either for your own education in your development as a professional, or for pure pleasure and entertainment. Peppering your content with these curated bits is an easy and fun way to spice up your own stuff and keep you and your readers interested.
If you’re like most bloggers, you read a lot of blogs yourself. I use Feedly to keep an eye on my favorite blogs and websites. I regularly peruse my Feedly for the best of the best and decide which posts are most notable and share-worthy. A lot of posts are skimmable, somewhat interesting, but not necessarily relevant to your readers. Others are absolutely riveting from a personal point of view and you’d like to express that diversification into your own content (i.e it’s funny, cute, interesting, inspirational, etc.). Still other articles cover excellent points about a subject related to your own content, show your readers how to do something better, or help them with a problem they may be facing.
The best, most sharable posts do their jobs so well, that there’s no point in repeating the topic.
Don’t bother writing a post on the same topic when someone else’s post pretty much nails it. In many cases, the only thing you might want to add is a short editorial on why you recommend it, or some detail that came to mind as you read the post you want to share. You do that in two ways.
First, leave a comment below the post. Make sure it’s thoughtful and adds to the discussion. Keep comments on other people’s blogs short, relevant and concise.
Then, share the content on your social sites with a link back to the article and the name of the author. For example…
I tend to like to quote an intriguing phrase from the article itself, or paraphrase what the article is about. I might even insert a thought or opinion of my own as I share the updates.
You can share curated content on social sites very easily using an app like Buffer (my favorite) or you could even pull together a short weekly newsletter — “The Best From Around The Web” kind of thing – and send it through your email service. Mari Smith’s weekly newsletter is great for this. Even though she’s a trusted expert on Facebook marketing, she’s always sharing other, lesser-known bloggers’ stuff. The content is always related to blogging, search, or online marketing; and it always pairs nicely with the expertise she provides.
When you curate content you discover on the web and then share it on social media or via email, you accomplish several things, and provide your blog with added benefits than if you only created and shared your own content:
- You’re audience will gain a broader perspective on the topics they’re interested in; the same topics you blog about, perhaps, but from another’s viewpoint. Make sure you also provide some commentary on why you think it’s noteworthy. For example, maybe you hold an additional viewpoint related to your industry or professional experience, and you are using this piece the build on the topic. If you share a story along with an explanation about why you’re sharing it, you double down on its value.
- “Hat-tipping” is the nice, social thing to do. Your share lends support the voice of your colleagues and fellow bloggers in your field. You also get to add your voice to the discussion related to the interests of your audience, illustrating useful tips or trends without stealing another blogger’s thunder. [Just a quick acknowledgement that occasionally you may see a post eerily similar to one you wrote in the past. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been copied, even though it may feel as though that’s the case. Great minds often think alike. At least that’s what I tell myself.]
- By sharing others’ content within your industry, you draw attention from other people and bloggers in your field. Sharing is a great way to build your network, and get to know others. Content curation is noticeable, and may even get you a few links back to your blog.
Finally, there’s one major fringe benefit of searching for and sharing others’ content. You learn and grow as you read, watch and listen to what other experts are talking about. If you find yourself with more than a few lines to say about a post, then you probably have the makings of a completely new blog post of your own.
You’ll know for sure if you find yourself beginning to fill a comment box with hundreds of words. At that point, stop commenting! Shorten your comment and thank the blogger. Save your comments for your own blog post. Sometimes, if I recognize that an article is triggering a lot of new ideas, I just cut and paste my comments into a file of blog ideas with the link of the post that inspired it. That way I always have plenty of blog topics to write about.
Give good credit to the source.
If you make a habit of sharing great content you find, you’ll become a go-to curator for people interested in your topics.
However you choose to share content, make sure you give the original author credit by linking to the article that inspired you. It’s a great practice to also contact the blogger and tell them you shared their post.
You may not think of yourself as a curator, but your unique perspective is what makes you perk up when you discover something cool on the web. If you don’t already enjoy searching out great content to share, try doing it for a while and see how it opens doors and makes your blogging like easier, more social, and more fun. Soon content curation will become one of your favorite jobs as a blogger, and you’ll start to love your role as content curator!
Your turn… what’s your angle on content curation?